The following article is taken from “Sussex County Magazine”, vol. 6, p.131.
THE FAMILY OF FUNNELL
Mark Anthony Lower records the following : – "There are two tradesmen at Lewes (i.e. in 1873), one of whom keeps a beerhouse called the Grape-vine and the other a respectable able grocer, Mr Alfred Funnell, who deals in British wines. Hence the following impromptu :
‘Tis rather queer that men, for beer,
Frequent the Grape-vine near the tunnel,
‘Tis more in reason, at any season
To qet sweet wine through A. Funnell !
Evidently, the Reverend A.A. Evans failed to notice this choice tit-bit contained in a footnote at page 107 of volume XXV S.A.C., from whence he may have obtained his information reqarding the Norman family of Fontanelle (page 809, Dec. S. C.M.) because, unless it may be found in Lower’s records of Pevensey, nowhere else is the family mentioned. Lower says that the name originated from Fontanelles in the canton of Thiberville in the arrondissement of Bernai, and as Fonnelle it is of frequent occurrence in Pevensey archives in the early part of the sixteenth century. Only a little later the name is found at Beckley, Eastbourne, Arlington, Heathfield and Warbleton.
In the Lewes Probate Registry are nearly thirty wills and administrations, or other acts of probate, to the name of Funnell and its variations, dated prior to the year 1652. The earliest appears to be that of John of Westham, dated the 16th and proved to the 29th of April, 1553. His widow, Beatrice, dates her will on the 15th of July, 1556, when administration of her estate was granted to John and Simon Bennett, her sons. The next will is that of Richard Fonyll, aIso of Westham, "bachelor", to whose name are calendared two acts of probate as if they were both wills, dated 10 Dec., 1569, proved 28 Nov. 1570. The second gives his name as Funnell.
John and Rohert were “husbandsmen” in 1569 and 1576 of Hellingly, where one of them produced a Sussex yeoman in the person of Edmund Fonnell, who died in October 1609, while Daniel of the same place was a "mason" in 1630.
Edward Shoosmith (Halland).
Article from “Sussex Archaeological Collection" Vol. 25 p.107
Funnell, a curious name, is very common in East Sussex. It is probably of ancient Norman origin, from Fontenelles, a parish in the canton of Thiberville, in the arrondissement of Bernai. Spelt Fonnelle, it is of frequent use the archives of Pevensey, in the early part of the l6th century. The bearers of the name are chiefly of the agricultural and trading classes, and have never risen to the rank of gentry.
Extract from « Danehill Parish Historical Magazine » Vol. 2 N° 7 – April 1984 (Bound copy in ESRO)
In 1840 there seem to be two families bearing the name Funnell. Edward Funnell is paying tithe on a house and garden in Fletching described as “Late Brays" and probably the same Edward occupies Clapwater on which tithes were being paid by the Earl of Sheffield; while in the census of 1841 and 1851, the farm bailiff of Sheffield Park is Thomas Funnell (b.1792) who has a wife Sarah (b.1811) but apparently no children.
In 1861 there are two William Funnells. One is an agricultural labourer, living at Maybourne, born in Fletching in 1818, unmarried, with no children. The other William who was born at Chiddingly in 1811 lived at Botches Farm Danehill Road. In 1839 he had married Mary Ann Gates who was born in Horsted Keynes in 1818. Her mother, Philadelphia, who, at the time of the 1861 census lived with them, was a widow of sixty-five and described as a “monthly nurse”. They had eleven children altogether, but by the 1861 census their eldest daughter Anna had died in infancy and their second son Thomas had either suffered the same fate or had already left home. The eldest son, William, now aged twenty, was still at home and described as an agricultural labourer; so was Isaac, the third son, born in 1845. Mahala, born in 1848, was the first of their children to be baptised at Fletching instead of Horsted Keynes. As Mary Ann (b.1850); Frank (b.1852); and Robert (b.1857) were still at school, and little Mercy (b.1860) was the baby, the youngest wage earner in 1861 was twelve-year-old Jesse, who was described as a ploughboy.
By the 1871 census, Mercy is now eleven; the last baby of all, Trayton, is now seven; and Robert, at thirteen must have been following in Jesse’s footsteps, for he is described as a carter-boy.Early in the following year, according to Horsted Keynes parish register, Jesse married Amelia Botting. At the end of 1872 their eldest son Trayton was born, followed by Frederick William in 1874, Elizabeth in 1881 and Ethel in 1883. For many years, Jesse (known in the family as “Uncle Tom Thumb”) and Amelia (known as “Aunt Milly”) lived in a cottage, now demolished, at the boundary of Horsted Keynes and Danehill parishes, where the Horsted Keynes road crosses Danehill Brook.
It is interesting to see how the families of Funnell, Botting, Awcock and Tomsett become woven together from the last half of the nineteenth century. Amelia’s sister, Mary Botting, had in 1881, married Edward Awcock, while her son, Trayton, married Beatrice Victoria Awcock (only distantly related to Edward, just a third cousin, in fact) in 1896.Jesse and Amelia’s youngest daughter, Ethel, (who married Henry Lade of Horsted Keynes Mill in 1903) saw her own daughter, another Ethel marry William Tomsett in 1931, at whose wedding were numerous descendants of Funnells, Bottings, Awcocks and Tomsetts! It should also be mentioned that a further link with another local family was provided when in June 1879 Mercy Funnell (the baby of the 1861 census) was married to Benjamin Newnham.
(Originally posted on this site in May 2000)
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